During a trip to Menlo, Iowa, on Tuesday, President Joe Biden suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin was carrying out "genocide" against the Ukrainian people.
When reporters later asked Biden to elaborate, the president said, “Yes, I called it genocide, because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be a Ukrainian.”
Biden said the "evidence is mounting" week by week of the "horrible things" Russia has done in Ukraine.
Listen and subscribe to Daily Kos' The Brief podcast with Markos Moulitsas and Kerry Eleveld
"We'll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies," Biden added, "but it sure seems that way to me."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Biden's assessment, calling him "a true leader."
“True words of a true leader @POTUS,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil. We are grateful for U.S. assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.”
President Biden's strong leadership on Ukraine, empathy for its people, and clear-eyed reflections on Putin's brutal war are becoming integral to how many Americans view the war. The president’s words have also typically reflected the thinking and sentiment of a broad coalition of the American people.
Biden's off-the-cuff remark last month that Putin "cannot remain in power" was initially viewed by the media as a gaffe. But several polls have since shown that Biden’s comment was very much in line with the views of roughly two-thirds of Americans—or even more.
Demonizing Putin—not that he needs any help—also continues to highlight the existential threat posed by the Trump-Putin axis.